In my mind there are never too many times to go over the basics or reflectively look at your sales activity and ask "Is this the most effective way for me to sell?" After a four hour conversation about sales and teams with an old friend yesterday. We discussed his team and five sales truths that he could bring back to his team today (he's probably sharing this as you read this). I wanted to share those thoughts with you. Here they are.
You have to be joined up across all your customer touch points
Today you cannot ignore the fact that you and many others now have numerous contact points with your customers. From traditional field sales to back office, marketing to technical support, administration to service engineers, the opportunities to enhance (or ruin) the customer experience are endless. Yet many companies are failing to maximise these opportunities. Sales professionals report the frustration of having carefully nurtured and cultivated customer relationships only for it to be damaged by careless or indifferent back office or sales support. Customers want, and expect, the good service they experience when you sell to them to be repeated when they deal with other parts of your business. Consistency, and the highest standards of sales awareness and skills, are paramount in giving your customers an outstanding experience at every touch point. You as the KAM or sales person need to own the process.
Putting your customer first is important but the value gained needs to mutual
Your customer should be at the heart of every sale, but that doesn't mean you're only there to do their bidding. Your relationship with your customers is a commercial one, and we can’t forget that it is a relationship where both parties should be getting value. Far too often, you see meaningless "just to keep in touch" emails. Look back at my Sales Initiative article on follow up for insight on how to get better responses with follow up emails. Regardless of the activity you have with your client. Effective account managers and sales people challenge and make sure that every customer contact is considered and planned, to ensure it has a purpose and achieves a meaningful objective.
You have to adapt the way you sell
You may have been successful using one sales methodology but the truth is that won’t work always. Those in sales for any length of time will recognise you need to adapt your selling as there is now more than one way for your customers to buy. Although there are many sales principles that remain constant you’d agree not all sales situations are the same. How you approach a $10,000 sale in your business to £1 Million deal is likely to vary in complexity of the decision-making process, or the depth of the buyer/seller relationship. Each sales channel is different and requires a different approach to selling; effective sales people avoid over-simplistic analysis of their sales situations, recognise what their selling scenarios really are, and adapt accordingly.
Being right doesn’t make you persuasive
How many times have you been in a client meeting and known without a doubt your solution is exactly right, only to have the customer buy from someone else? No doubt the logic behind your solution, and the cost/benefit analysis that went with it, were rock-solid and flawless. But in who's eyes? If we take the principle that most people don’t buy from logic but emotion and justify with logic. We need to discover what the 'why' is behind the reason for buying. What is the emotional centred trigger? If we understand that while building in a credible proposal you’re much more likely to win first time.
Don't always start at the top
Should you sell to the most senior person you can? In some cases yes. But in most cases that approach fails because you don't have a strong enough business case. That manager is unlikely to be impressed and will probably refer you somewhere else and that won’t necessarily be a warm referral. Research has shown successful sales people time their contact with senior people more strategically, having first used friendly contacts to test the actual needs, understand the perspective of the problem-owners and drivers that will eventually sit at the heart of your business case. Only when that business case is well formed do skilled sales people contact the senior decision makers. Having said all that, if the CEO is your oldest and best contact, go for it.
By Jermaine Edwards, Founder and Author of the Key Account Hack. As a customer growth speaker and coach. Jermaine helps Key Account Managers, Managers of account teams, Solopreneurs and businesses around the world differentiate their value for retention and see up to 30% - 40% sales growth every year from their key customers. Using the key account hack system you access a proven step by step guide that leads you to deeper and more influential client relationships and massive customer sales growth in just 90 days. For more information visit his website, Twitter or LinkedIn.